This week’s Thursday Thoughts will explore “perfect” locations for photo sessions.
Let me begin by saying that portrait journalism is more about people than places. That said, location can add drama, interest, inspiration, and even insight into the subject. The “perfect” location can help make an image come alive.
Here are some things I’ve learned about discovering portrait locations:
It’s “them.” When my clients and I are deciding on locations, we talk a lot about how they see themselves. Are they quirky, formal, whimsical, artistic, fun-loving, urban, nature-loving, simple…? Are there limitations that will affect location selection–such as small children who will not do well moving from spot to spot or elderly people who need to avoid a lot of steps and uneven terrain?
Think out of the box. Don’t be afraid to try a location that doesn’t seem traditional. I love being surprised by great spots. Sometimes circumstances have forced me to choose a second choice location, but I’ve never been disappointed. Use unorthodox locations to help you focus on the people you’re photographing. (One of my favorites is behind my neighborhood Food Lion…really.)
One size does NOT fit all. Every location is not perfect for every person or family I photograph. Some of my clients love the beach; others hate it. Some prefer the urban feel of a downtown setting, while others love nature trails and walking paths. A great location is only great if the people being photographed think it is.
As I think about some of the unique places I’ve done photo sessions, it makes me smile. Creativity really is limitless when we’re looking for inspiration in unexpected places.
I’ve posted a few of my favorite unexpected “perfect” location images below. I think you’ll find that these “perfect” locations have helped bring out something special in the people I’ve photographed.
Have fun finding your perfect places for pictures!